The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday dismissed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s claim of alleged security lapses during Bharat Jodo Yatra in the Union Territory, stating that the size of the crowd was larger than planned which created the impression that security arrangements were not in place.
However, 15 companies of paramilitary forces and 10 companies of Jammu and Kashmir Police were deployed for the security of Rahul Gandhi. Addressing a press conference, RK Goyal, Additional Chief Secretary (FC), Home Department of Jammu and Kashmir said the government is acutely mindful of the security concerns and all arrangements have been made to ensure the best possible security for the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra.
“The size of the crowd was larger than planned which led to the pressure on the available security resources and created the impression that security arrangements were not in place. However, 15 companies of paramilitary forces and 10 companies of J-K police were deployed,” said Goyal.
He further said a large portion of the crowd from the Banihal side who were supposed to have returned to Banihal rushed to the Kashmir side
“Contrary to arrangements worked out between Bharat Jodo yatra organizers and security establishment, a large portion of the crowd from Banihal side who were supposed to have returned to Banihal rushed to Kashmir side,” he added.
Rahul Gandhi while addressing a press conference in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag said that the police arrangement completely collapsed and the police who were supposed to manage the crowd was nowhere to be seen.
“This morning during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, unfortunately, the police arrangement completely collapsed and the police who were supposed to manage the crowd was nowhere to be seen. My security people were very uncomfortable with me walking further on the yatra so I had to cancel my walk. Other yatris did the walk,” Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra, which is in its final leg in Jammu and Kashmir, resumed on Friday morning from the National Highway-44, Banihal Railway station, in the UT’s Ramban district.
Security was tightened in the area in the wake of the recent twin blasts on the outskirts of Jammu city on January 22 which rocked a busy locality in Narwal leaving atleast nine people injured.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra, which started in Kanyakumari on September 7, will conclude on January 30 in Srinagar after covering 3,970 km, 12 states and two Union territories. The reports of the Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi’s security breach have come to the fore.
A security breach emerged at the Bharat Jodo Yatra on January 17 when an unknown man came out of the crowd and tried to hug Rahul Gandhi in Tanda in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district. However, Gandhi later termed him “excited” and said it was the people’s enthusiasm.
Earlier on January 4, the Congress wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah alleging “security breaches” in the Bharat Jodo Yatra which entered the national capital on December 24.
Congress general secretary KC Venugopal in a letter to the Centre said the Delhi Police behaved like “mute spectators”, and completely failed to control the surging crowd and maintain a perimeter around Rahul Gandhi, who is assigned Z+ Security. (ANI)